First week upsets and Wimbledon go together like peanut butter and jelly. Every year, either a young, hungry competitor shocks a seasoned veteran and or an ageing player topples an in-the-prime star. This year’s edition was not an exception and it had its fair share of early round eliminations.
With the first week of the 2017 Wimbledon officially in the books and the second one about to go underway, here are some of the biggest upsets of the opening week.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka had the quickest exits of all the top seeds. Finishing as the runner-up at the Roland Garros just under a month ago, Wawrinka was visibly struggling and lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to Daniil Medvedev at Center Court in the first round at the All England Club.
Wawrinka was seeded No 5 and ranked No 3. Medvedev, a 21-year-old Russian, is ranked 49th and had never won a Grand Slam match prior to this victory.
Wawrinka iced his knee during changeovers but was never able to quite gather momentum to establish himself in the game. He has won each of the other three Grand Slam but has never been able to advance past the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. This was his sixth loss in the opening round at the All England Club.
Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut proved to be too good for a lacklustre Kei Nishikori to overcome, winning 6-4, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 on Court Three.
It has been a mediocre year for Nishikori so far and he has been unable to build on the glimpses of excellence he showed when he reached the 2014 US Open final, before losing to Marin Cilic.
After reaching the final in two of his first three tournaments of 2017 he has not made one since and has been dealing with injuries.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fell to America’s Sam Querrey, who stunned Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year. After their clash was halted due to bad light late on Friday evening, Querrey and Tsonga resumed their play of the remainder of the final set on Saturday.
Querrey needed just five minutes to move to the Round of 16 as the American 24th seed finished off his delayed third round clash with Tsonga. With Tsonga serving, Querrey comfortably broke to seal a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-5 victory over the French 12th seed.
Juan Martin del Potro
Juan Martin del Potro lost to unseeded Latvian Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 4-6, 6(3)-7. Gulbis smashed 25 aces and was only broken once en route to his win. He had double the number of winners as his opponents, outnumbering Del Potro 60-30.
Karolina Pliskova became the highest-seeded player to have an early exit, losing to Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round.
Third seed Pliskova was the runner-up at the U.S. Open last year and had reached till at least the quarterfinals of her last three Grand Slam appearances. Despite the 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 loss, there is still a silver lining for Pliskova as she still has a chance to climb up to World No 1 in the rankings after Wimbledon depending on how Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep perform rest of the way.
World No 95 Madison Brengle shocked 11th seed Petra Kvitova 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in the second round at Wimbledon. Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, has been one of the favorites to capture her third title, despite competing in only her third tournament following her comeback.
Kristina Mladenovic lost to Alison Riske in a second round encounter on Court 18. The American won 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
The French 12th seed also made news after the game as she criticized the condition of Wimbledon’s legendary Court 18 on Thursday, claiming the grass was dangerously ‘unfit’ and both she and her opponent wanted to call the match off.